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low level temperature inversion

  • Spinrecovery
  • Spinrecovery's Avatar Topic Author

Spinrecovery created the topic: low level temperature inversion

I have a few questions regarding the conditions underneath the inversion.
Will the flying conditions be smooth or turbulent below the inversion and what about above the inversion?
Since the inversion traps air, pollutants, and all particles beneath it, I would assume that it would be turbulent. On the other hand, the cold air at the surface is more dense, so flying could also be smooth. Am I on the right path here?

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bobtait replied the topic: low level temperature inversion

The turbulence that concerns us here is convective turbulence. That is, the turbulence caused when warm air rises from the surface and continues to rise as it encounters cooler air above. When an inversion exists, the air at the surface is cooler than the air above so there is no tendency for convection to begin and therefore no turbulence in the cold air beneath the inversion. However, this also means little movement of air will take place, either vertically [convection] or horizontally [wind]. That means that smoke and dust etc will remain static in the cold air resulting in reduce visibility below the inversion. You are correct in saying that the cold air is more dense - that's exactly why its remaining firmly on the surface. However the absence of turbulence is due to the absence of convection, not the density of the air.

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